This article - I've tried to keep it as short as possible, under the circumstances - is about a reprehensible little crook called Stanislaw Burzynski.
(Although the guy looks uncomfortably like a 1970s German pornstar, let's not judge on appearances.)
If you're not familiar with the man, you're almost certainly familiar with his work. "Dr" Burzynski is in the business of selling miracle cancer cures from his "clinic" in Texas.
Medical charlatans aren't exactly an endangered species, of course, but "Dr" Burzynski's activities set new standards of excellence in quackery. I'll let the Daily Fail take the story from here...
"When [7-year-old] Maya [Perrin-Skippen] was diagnosed with the rare brain tumour in September 2006 she was given a 50 per cent chance of surviving, but after a course of intensive chemotherapy and a seven hour biopsy the tumour disappeared...
A year later doctors discovered the cancer had returned...
Her parents raised £77,000 to fly the family to a specialist centre in Houston - the only place which will treat the schoolgirl...
Maya's father said British doctors have told him they cannot operate... But after trawling the internet the family found a doctor in America willing to treat her...
'Two years ago, I found the Burzynski Clinic after many hours of online searching', he said.
'I couldn't believe what I was reading. Dr. Burzynski has cured many recurrent brain tumours with his pioneering Antineoplaston Therapy... The treatment costs £50,000 per year... I am certain it will cure my little angel of the cancer that has taken her over..."
At this point it's worth asking if you can recall reading lots of similar stories about desperate families trying to raise money to send a cancer victim to a "specialist clinic in America".
These kinds of articles appear with tedious regularity in the British newspapers, and only the most alert of readers will spot that the clinic in question is almost invariably the Burzynski Clinic.
Is the clinic any good? Can "Dr" Burzynski really treat cancer?
It's surprisingly difficult to find out. I've summarised the sum total of "Dr" Burzynski's published research on the effectiveness of antineoplaston therapy for curing cancer - gathered over a 35-year research career - in the box below.
Fortunately, "Dr" Burzynski is not the only man doing "research" in this field. Saul Green - a real doctor who didn't charge £70,000 a pop - reviewed the available evidence and reached a surprising conclusion:
"Burzynski has never demonstrated that A-2.1 (PA) or 'soluble A-10' (PA and PAG) are effective against cancer or that tumor cells from patients treated with these antineoplastons have been 'normalized.'
Tests of antineoplastons at the National Cancer Institute have never been positive.
The drug company Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals could not duplicate Burzynski's claims for AS-2.1 and A-10.
The Japanese National Cancer Institute has reported that antineoplastons did not work in their studies.
No Burzynski coauthors have endorsed his use of antineoplastons in cancer patients.
These facts indicate to me that Burzynski's claims that his 'antineoplastons' are effective against cancer are not credible."
In other words, we can be sure that these cancer claims attributed to "Dr" Burzynski's "clinic" are 100% industrial-grade bullshit.
Of course, if you go looking on "Dr" Burzynski's website you'll struggle to find a mention of the word "cure". The therapy is (it says here) only available as a "clinical trial".
If you're familiar with the term "clinical trial", you're probably thinking of research conducted on a randomised pool of volunteers, under controlled conditions, and whose results are published in reputable medical journals. Healthy volunteers are usually paid for their time (and are covered by insurance if something goes wrong).
"Dr" Burzynski, on the other hand, seems to have a new and bolder understanding of the term. If you're selected as a "volunteer" in one of his "clinical trials" - for a therapy we already know does not work - the fees are so stupendously large you'll probably have to sell your house and hand over your entire life savings, yet the results might not be published for at least 35 years.
In recent weeks "Dr" Burzynski's philanthropic deeds have been attracting much attention, and little of it positive.
It now seems evident that "Dr" Burzynski has heard about Britain's repressive libel laws and, envious of the all fun and games in the London law courts, is keen to get a piece of the action for himself.
"Dr" Burzynski's "lawyer" - more about that later - is a chap who describes himself as Marc Stephens.
The thing is, folks, I'm also feeling a bit jealous. Almost everyone has been getting some nice legal threats, except me, so here's what I'm going to do.
First I'm going to make a statement about "Dr" Burzynski (in red). Immediately below "Dr Burzynski's "lawyer" will find my current contact details.
Finally, I'll post a copy of some of the legal threats "Dr" Burzynski's "lawyer" has been sending to all and sundry. I realise that a "lawyer"'s time is precious, so perhaps "Marc" will omit the tedious semi-literate correspondence and get down to the actual writ-issuing!
"Dr" Stanislaw Burzynski of the Burzynski Clinic (Houston, Texas) is a crook, a conman, a charlatan, a fraud and a quack. This reprehensible little man ruthlessly exploits the desperate relatives of the incurably ill with a series of phoney 'clinical trials' whose sole outcome is not to expand the knowledge of mankind, but to separate the poor families from their life savings. "Dr" Burzynski has been making claims for an antineoplaston therapy for the last 35 years yet apparently has not deigned to publish the results of any of his phoney 'clinical trials' in any prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal. None of the misleading cancer-treatment claims made by the clinic (on their website and on other social media, such as YouTube) for "Dr" Burzynski's antineoplaston therapy are supported my the tiniest jot of published rigorous clinical evidence, yet he happily promotes these bogus treatments. I have not seen any evidence that the PhD "Dr" Burzynski claims to hold exists anywhere but in his own imagination (though I do not doubt that "Dr" Burzynski holds a legitimate medical qualification). I have not seen any evidence that "Marc Stephens" is a qualified and registered lawyer, nor indeed that he is even a non-fictitious person. If "Dr" Burzynski or his "lawyer" draw my attention to any factual errors on this page, I should be delighted to correct them upon receipt of substantiating evidence.
Here are my contact details - lawyers, get in touch for the address where your defamation writs should be sent!
And here are copies of the threatening letters send to another critic, Rhys Morgan, which might be still available on his site by the time you read this.
"Hello Rhys Morgan,
I represent Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, Burzynski Clinic, and Burzynski Research Institute.
It has been brought to our attention that you have content on your website and on your Twitter account that is in violation of several state and federal laws.
This is a legal complaint regarding the your multiple twitter account posts, and article you posted online titled “The Burzynski Clinic dated August 28, 2011, by Rhys Morgan”. This correspondence constitutes a demand that you immediately cease and desist in your actions defaming and libeling my clients. Please allow this correspondence to serve as notice to you that you published libelous and defamatory information.
Please be advised that my clients consider the content of your postings to be legally actionable under numerous legal causes of action, including but not limited to: libel, defamation, and tortious interference with business contracts and business relationships.
The information you assert in your postings is factually incorrect and posted with either actual knowledge, or reckless disregard for its falsity, and with the actual and specific malice to injure my client’s business relationships in the community.
I am not sure if you are familiar with Defamation (Libel). If not, I will assist you.
What is Defamation (Libel)
Libel is a published or fixed form of defamation of character; a civil wrong that falsely impugns the reputation or character of a person or entity, opening the target up to public scorn or ridicule. Libel might appear in a magazine, book, newspaper, or in a radio or television broadcast. Signs, billboards or posters can also be mediums for libel. Online libel, or cyber libel takes electronic forms such as email, mailing lists, newsgroups, chat rooms, podcasts, vodcasts and Web pages. Although many citizens do not yet realize it, comments made to chat boards, newsgroups and even mailing lists are all forms of publication. Criticisms of companies or their goods can be a basis for libel charges if the poster misrepresents facts, or fails to qualify his or her post as opinion.
Every comment you made in your article is highly incorrect. I suggest you remove ALL references about my client on the internet in its entirety, and any other defamatory statement about my client immediately, or I will file suit against you.
I am not sure where you obtained your incorrect information, but you will be held liable for your statements. REMOVE ARTICLE IMMEDIATELY.
GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.
9432 Katy Freeway
Houston, Texas 77055"
"Marc" is "not sure if you are familiar with Defamation" but is willing to "assist you"...?
Lol, nice trolling "Marc"! Second letter:
Please forward the notice to your parents if you are actually in High School. This is a very serious matter. Although you have a right to freedom of speech, it is against the law to post slanderous or libelous statements. Because your statements have been read by third parties you are now also interfering with my clients business, and you are emotionally effecting Dr. Burzynski’s as well as his cancer patients around the world. Please remove all references about my client, as well as all libelous statements immediately. I have already copied your website and twitter account as proof of the statements.
Once you remove your libelous statements, you will agree, that you immediately cease and desist from making any further unsupported, defamatory, libelous or harmful statements relating to my clients through any medium, including the Internet.
You are to remove existing statements, and are not to post, host, or make available any libelous, false or defamatory statements against my clients via the Internet, television, radio, print or any other forms of media. You shall not create any new alias, nor use any old alias, to post, host, or make available any statement regarding my client via the Internet, television, radio, print or any other forms of media. You will provide a public apology to Dr. Burzynski and his patients and post it on your websites, and social media sites.
Once removed, I can provide you with the correct information from the National Cancer Institute and several doctors who testified to the effectiveness of Antineoplastons. In addition, my client is FDA approved for Phase 3 clinical trials. You are reading lies and misunderstandings on the internet, which you are still liable for re-posting this information. I appreciate you contacting me to resolve this matter.
So, it's "against the law to post slanderous or libelous statements," eh? Possibly in Zimbabwe, "Marc", but over here in Europe it's not "against the law" at all! I wonder, do you have any legal qualifications?
I greatly appreciate you removing the articles and comments.
You are responsible for whatever you post online. You need to spend time understanding defamation laws if you want to start a career as a blogger. You can be sued for “Not Knowing”, its called Negligence. You can not interfere with business relationships and contracts. If you do not understand what you are doing I suggest you stop posting articles. Your “Opinion” can also get you sued. Look up the recent Google case in the UK. Google was sued and lost because their algorithm created “SCAM”, “FRAUD”, etc next to a business owner’s name. We also filed a complaint with Google and they had to remove the wording. If you think you are bigger than Google than enjoy life in the court room. There are many stories online that you can find that tell you the truth about Dr. Burzynski. If you are interested in learning I can guide you to the truth. I’ve watch some of your videos and you are a really smart guy. Use that intelligence in a positive way. Be careful online and good luck.
It's certainly true you can find links to "many stories online that... tell you the truth about Dr. Burzynski" all over the web. My favourite is this report of "Dr" Burzynski's 1994 appearance in court. Accused of fraud, he lost the case and lost again on appeal.
This is my THIRD AND FINAL WARNING to you.
Please convey this message to your entire Skeptic Network, which includes but not limited to, Ratbags.com, thetwentyfirstfloor, quackwatch, etc. I represent Dr. Burzynski, the Burzynski Clinic, and the Burzynski Research Institute. I've attached Azad Rastegar, and Renee Trimble from the Burzynski Clinic for your confirmation.
In the following weeks I will be giving authorization to local attorneys in multiple countries to pursue every defamation libel case online, including your online libelous statements. I suggest you shut down your entire online defamation campaign about Dr. Burzynski, and remove ALL recent or previous comments off the internet IMMEDIATELY. The minute you post any libelous comments online about my client I will pursue you and your parents/guardians To the Full Extent of the Law. I have no obligation to train you, or teach you, the meaning of defamation. Google it, or go to the library and research it.
This is a very serious matter. Please confirm your mailing address, which I have on record as (my address). If you do not cooperate an official legal complaint requesting punitive damages will be mailed to that address. I will be contacting your school as well to inform them of your illegal acts.
Again, this is my FINAL WARNING TO YOU.
The final letter concluded with a photo of the critic's house in Wales.
It is worth noting, in conclusion, that the victim of this sinister "we know where you live" threat is a teenager. It's apparently not the first time that "Marc Stephens" has threatened a child.